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JAPAN MEETS UNBEATEN SWEDEN IN CUP SEMIS
Tue, 12 Jul 2011 05:55 PM EDT

FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011 – Semifinals

JAPAN vs. SWEDEN

Kickoff: Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. EDT
Frankfurt Stadium – Frankfurt
Line:
Sweden +125, Japan +210, Tie after regulation +220
Over/Under: 2.5 Goals (Over EVEN, Under -142)
Prop Bets:
Team to Score First: Sweden -120, Japan +110, No Goals: +1000
Will Both Teams Score in first 90 minutes? Yes -125, No -115
Total Goals in first 90 minutes? Odds -120, Even -120

Two clubs that not many experts figured would be in this position meet in Wednesday’s second semifinal match of the 2011 Women’s World Cup soccer tournament. Japan is riding high after a 1-0 upset of favored Germany, while Sweden remains the lone unbeaten team left in the tournament with four wins in four matches. Scores.

Although they are underdogs to a certain extent, both these teams are highly-regarded in the soccer universe. Japan ranks fourth among FIFA’s top-ranked women’s teams in the world, while Sweden is right behind at No. 5. With both of these clubs appearing to be pretty even on paper, the money line makes JAPAN the choice to win this match in a low-scoring affair that should finish UNDER the total, and possibly even be decided with penalty kicks after a 0-0 or 1-1 stalemate.

Japan has been impressive on both ends of the field, outscoring opponents 7-3 in the four matches. The Japanese were determined to keep Germany from scoring, and did just that with a 54 percent ball possession and only allowing the Germans to get four of their 23 shots on frame. Goalie Ayumi Kaihori had an outstanding quarterfinal match and Japan’s best player, Homare Sawa, had a gorgeous assist on the game’s lone goal by Karina Maruyama who scored in the 108th minute. Japan could have some tired legs after playing 120 minutes and committing 20 fouls against Germany, but the Japanese benefit from an extra day of rest having played on Saturday, while Sweden played Sunday. Betting lines.

The Swedes have improved their performance in each of their four victories. They beat Colombia 1-0 in the Cup opener, and then played a little better in their second game, also a 1-0 win, against North Korea. But despite the competition being stiffer in their past two contests (United States and Australia), they have really shined, outscoring the two opponents 5 to 2. Lisa Dahlkvist has three goals in the tournament, which trails only Brazil’s Marta for Golden Boot honors. Lotta Schelin had a brilliant performance in Sunday’s 3-1 win over the Australian team. She had one goal, one assist, and completed 29 of 33 passes. Sweden is one of three teams in the field with more shots on goal (22) than shots wide (21), but its 65 fouls committed leads the field by a wide margin. The Swedes only have 22 fouls suffered giving them a -10.8 differential of fouls per match. This lack of discipline combined with four straight matches of losing the time of possession could prove costly against a very sound Japan squad. Sports scores.


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